Bottleneck Lounge Happy Hour

Chances are you’ve passed by the Bottleneck Lounge a thousand times and never noticed it. And how could you, barreling as you probably do down the hill on Madison Street as it slopes toward Lake Washington? The Bottleneck is a neighborhood joint, though there’s a running debate between patrons as to which neighborhood it’s actually in: Park yourself on one of the forgiving bar stools on any given afternoon and you’re almost guaranteed to see a verbal row between the Central District and Madison Valley factions over which can actually claim the bar. Otherwise, it has all of the traits of a consummate neighborhood pub: comfy with a “who’s the new guy?” vibe. The regulars who treat the place as if it’s their own rumpus room will welcome you in over $3.50 wells or, if you prefer, a beer from the eclectic assortment of tap handles. Food remains at full price even during the 3 p.m-5 p.m. happy hour. But the conversation, which is better and, depending on your partner, weirder than you’d expect to have even on Capitol Hill, makes up for it. VERNAL COLEMAN

Mondays-Fridays, Sundays, 2010